1 2 3 Game
A fun game to increase focus during distractions, especially on walks
This is a favorite game for any owner that needs to help their dog keep focus during distractions on walks. This is good for dogs with big feelings who can react to stimuli in the environment. It can also be especially helpful for anyone making a transition from suburban to urban settings. The game adds predictability into unpredictable situations - some dogs with fear or reactivity respond very nicely to this positive and engaging approach to focus.
Let's Get Started! This one's easy.
Step 1 Start in your home, standing still
First grab some treats
Say "three" then feed a treat (there is no behavior requirement -- just give your dog the treat for whatever your dog is doing)
Repeat this for about 2-5 minutes
Next, say "two" before you say "three" then feed a treat immediately after you say three
Repeat this for a few minutes
Next say "one, two, three" then feed a treat immediately after the "three"
Repeat a few minutes
Step 2 Add a little movement
Still in your home, walk slowly around repeating Step 1 in motion (and on lead)
Step 3 Backyard
Go outside in a low distraction area (like your backyard) and repeat Steps 1 and 2
Step 4 More outdoor distractions
Go outside in a slightly more distracting environment and repeat Steps 1 and 2
Step 5 On a walk
Go outside in a slightly more distracting environment and repeat Steps 1 and 2 if necessary, otherwise just say "one, two, three" then feed
Time to take it on the road! Play this game at different times in different locations to discover its uses. This will be so much fun for you and your dog.
What else can I do?
You can play with the timing between the 1, 2 and 3. It doesn't have to be one step per count, you can say "one" then walk 5 steps, then "two" then walk 5 steps, then "three" and feed. Play with speed and timing!